Exploring the Benefits and Drawbacks of an Animal-Based Diet

animal-based diet_featureimage

Let’s sink our teeth into the juicy topic of animal-based diet! Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products are all part of nutrient-dense diets that may help you stay healthy and ward against degenerative conditions. Protein, for instance, plays a vital role in constructing and repairing tissues, controlling hormone levels, and promoting normal growth and development. Furthermore, vitamins B12, D, calcium, and iron, all of which are present in animal-based foods but are harder to come by in plant-based diets, are essential.

An Animal-Basediet Vs. Carnivore Diet

Meat

But not all animal-based diets are created equal. Take the carnivore diet, for example, which is a more extreme version of the animal-based diet that is mostly composed of animal products. While some people see this as a more sustainable way of eating, the misconception that it only includes steak can get old fast. That’s where the “nose-to-tail” method comes in, which incorporates other parts of the animal like organ meats, fat, and connective tissue to improve the dietary variety and nutrient delivery.

And ultimately whether you choose to follow an animal-based or carnivore diet depends on your individual preferences and health goals. But whichever you choose, just remember that variety is key and plenty of options are available beyond just steak!

This begs the question: why go the animal route instead of the carnivorous one?

  • Greater Variety: Fruit and honey are off-limits on a carnivore’s diet. More food options are available when following a diet that includes animal products. 
  • Some people like carnivores because of how easy it is to understand. Choosing what to eat is simple: either it is animal-based or it isn’t. Some people find it easier to stick to a plant-based diet if they are allowed some discretion, while others find the opposite to be 
  • First off, not everyone is prepared to suddenly stop caring about plants, even if they do. A diet based on animal products is a great way to ease into the practice of eating meat. You may even try an 80/20 split and gradually phase out more plant meals if that seems more manageable to you.

Impact of Animal-Based Diet on the Environment

Cattles in field.

The impact of food choices on the environment is significant, especially when it comes to the consumption of animal-based diets. These foods contribute heavily to the generation of greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane, primarily due to land use and deforestation, water consumption, and methane emission. Animal-based foods are responsible for double the emissions of plant-based foods, and one-third of the global human-induced greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food systems.

Furthermore, malpractices in the current meat industry can increase the risk of antibiotic resistance and the spread of infectious diseases, which can be harmful to both humans and animals. Crowding farm animals and factory workers in suboptimal-sanitized conditions can also increase the risk of zoonotic diseases. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a recent example of animal-to-human disease transmission that has highlighted the importance of responsible food practices.

An Animal-Basediet Food List

Here’s a list of animal-based foods for reference:

  • Low Toxic: Beef from grass-fed cows, pork from pasture-raised pigs, chicken from pasture-raised birds, organ meats, bone broth, wild-caught fish, corn/soy-free eggs, raw organic honey, A2 dairy, and sweet fruits such as apples, oranges, berries, pineapple, pears, melons, bananas, and mangoes. Non-sweet fruits like avocados, olives, pumpkins, squash, and zucchini cucumbers are also low-toxic. Tallow/suet and grass-fed ghee are also on this list. 
  • Medium Toxic: White rice, roots/tubers like sweet potatoes, yams, and carrots, fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and pickles, artichoke hearts, herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, dill, mint, and parsley, coconut, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, low-metal fish such as wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, and shellfish (in moderation), and Ceylon cinnamon. 
  • High Toxic: Spinach, brassicas like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, horseradish, radishes, watercress, and Choy, beets, chard, asparagus, lettuce/salad greens such as green n leaf, romaine, mixed greens, and arugula, grains such as wheat, oats, quinoa, millet, and amaranth, seed oils like corn, canola, sunflower, safflower, soy, and peanut, seeds such as chia, flax, sunflower, and pumpkin, coffee, chocolate, spices such as Cassia cinnamon, turmeric, cardamom, cumin, coriander, black/white pepper, and paprika, kimchi, nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts, legumes such as peas, green beans, soybeans, kidney beans, lentils, and peanuts, celery, brown rice, mushrooms, cassava, alliums like onions, garlic, and leeks, and nightshades such as tomatoes, white potatoes, eggplants, peppers, chili peppers, and goji berries. High-heavy metal fish like tuna, king mackerel, halibut, and sea bass are also on this list.

Dietary timing and intake  

When it comes to chowing down, it’s important to pay attention to your body’s signals. Don’t ignore those hunger pangs – they’re there for a reason! Some folks prefer sticking to a twice-a-day meal schedule for lunch and dinner, while others graze more frequently throughout the day. As for when to cut yourself off, it’s a good rule of thumb to finish your last meal at least three to four hours before you hit the hay.

Now, everyone’s got their un eating style, so don’t worry if your noshing routine is all over the map. Sometimes you might feel like you could eat an entire cow; otherwise, not even a crumb will do the trick. But as you settle into a regular (assuming your schedule allows for it), you’ll find that your appetite tends to fall into a more predictable pattern. To keep your body fueled up, we recommend noshing on at least two meals a day – one lighter, and one more substantial. And hey, if you need a little something-something to tide you over in between meals, there’s no shame in reaching for a snack or two.

Let your body be the final arbiter

Your hunger cues may shift as you transition away from processed meals and toward natural foods. Instead of cravings or the “hangry” sensation you m, ay be accustomed to, hunger may be signaled by a decrease in energy, less mental clarity, a rumbling stomach, or even a little sense of lightheadedness.

Possible side effects include increased stamina and the ability to delay hunger. Eventually, prolonged fasting may become the norm. In addition, time-restricted feeding (consisting of a few meals per day followed by fasting) is a trend that is expected to spread organically.

You should also pay attention to your body in terms of how much food you consume. Just eat extra food if you feel hungry. Don’t eat for a few hours or even the rest of the day if you feel bloated or full.

The longer you keep this up, the more you’ll tune into your body and become attuned to its cues and signals, as well as the more metabolically healthy and flexible you’ll be.

Lauren Howlett

By Lauren Howlett

I love to share thoughts and ideas with the world. I am a passionate writer, and constantly exploring new topics.


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